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Two Moons of Sera

Two Moons of Sera

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Two Moons of Sera

416 pages
5 hours
Mar 21, 2015


The land-dwelling Erdlanders don't know about her.

The amphibious Sualwets reject and resent her.

Serafay is anomaly, an unwanted outcast from both worlds. Fearing the people who tortured and experimented on her mother's waterborne race, Sera remains hidden and isolated, feeling like she doesn't belong. When she meets a stranger, Tor, another misfit like herself, Sera realizes that she's not alone, finally discovering a sense of home. With the war between the Erdlanders and Sualwets escalating, will Sera and Tor ever be safe from the dangers surrounding them?

Evolved Publishing presents an other-worldly romantic tale from a multiple Award-Winning and USA Today Best-Selling author of "White Chalk" and other great books. Discover the world of the Sualwets and the Erdlanders. [DRM-Free]

Books by P.K. Tyler:

  • Moon Dust - A "Two Moons of Sera" Short Story
  • The Jakkattu Vector
  • White Chalk
  • The Sugar House Novellas (Writing as Pavarti K. Tyler)
  • Ninja and Bunny's Great Adventure (Writing as Kara S Tyler)

More Great YA Books from Evolved Publishing:

  • Chosen (Wind Catcher, Brink of Dawn, Scorched Souls) by Jeff Altabef and Erynn Altabef
  • Joey Cola: Dream Warriors by D. Robert Pease
  • The Silver Sphere by Michael Dadich
  • The Darla Decker Diaries Series by Jessica McHugh

Mar 21, 2015

About the author

P.K. Tyler is the bestselling author of speculative fiction and other genre-bending novels. She is an artist, wife, mother and number cruncher. She graduated Smith College in 1999 with a degree in Theatre. After graduation, she moved to New York, where she worked as a Dramaturge, Assistant Director and Production Manager on productions both on and off Broadway. When not writing Speculative Fiction she twists her mind by writing horror and literary fiction. P.K. Tyler also writes under the pen names Pavarti K. Tyler (Erotic Romance) and Kara S Tyler (Children's Books).

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Two Moons of Sera - P.K. Tyler


Nilafay ran, slipping on the unfamiliar terrain, desperate to reach water. The rocks dug into the thin flesh of her webbed feet, cutting the sensitive skin. This place remained foreign despite being only miles from her home. Never had she seen the sun so bright or felt the moisture evaporate off her skin; she felt she would die from the cruelty of the atmosphere.

Navigating her way through the wilderness proved difficult, but finally she breathed in the familiar briny scent of home. She licked her lips, seeking relief from the dryness before stepping out of the tree line and onto the rocky beach. The sun overwhelmed her sensitive eyes, and she slid thin, clear membranes over them. She’d always considered the membranes vestigial, before coming above water to the Erdland.

She moved forward, wincing as the heat of the sun burned her delicate forehead. Her irises retracted and for a moment she was blinded, but she could smell and taste the salt in the air, leading her to the water. The rest of Nilafay’s senses remained on high alert, her eardrums straining to feel the vibrations of distant voices.

Frantic to reach the surf, she slipped and ripped open her shin. She bit down on her lip, refusing to cry out or shed a tear. She was done crying.

Nilafay heard them calling from farther back in the forest; the hunters who had seduced her with offers of friendship and a world unlike any she had seen before. They circled closer, the creatures they commanded following her scent and leading their masters closer. She shivered at the memory of their strange hair-covered bodies. At first she had been intrigued by the animals with the eyes of men, but when she learned they were there not to befriend her, but to guard and cage her, she resented their tracking gaze.

She stood and resumed her pitch toward the coastline, pressing through the throbbing in her leg. The sensitive myomere muscles of her body were unaccustomed to impact injury.

Hunters approached the tree line, making no attempt to hide their arrival.

She dropped to her knees. Her iridescent white flesh shone in the morning sun, its lack of pigment reflecting the bright light beating down on her. The rocky beach offered no asylum.

The men grew louder, closer with each passing moment, speaking their gruff language.

She understood only a few words. But what she did understand terrified her: net, animal, project.



Please, just let me get to the water....




16 Years Later....

The sand softened the impact of my landing after I jumped from the tree I’d used to climb over the rock wall separating my home from the outside world. I released a shaky breath. I’d ventured farther out into the forest today, farther than I would have if my mother had been around. Without her here, I didn’t bother sneaking back in like usual. I spent the day exploring as much as I wanted, and longed to know about everything outside the small cove we lived in.

I’d never been beyond the mountain range overshadowing our home, only through the forest leading south toward the villages. The danger of discovery—or worse, capture—kept me from going too far. What would happen if Erdlanders found us? My mother’s stories about needles and tests and tortures from before I was born were enough to keep me on a tight leash.

The water beyond the cove led north, into the ocean, where the Sualwet people lived—my mother’s people. We were refugees from that world, too. They’d exiled her because of me.

My world held me tightly, like too-small clothing that refused to adjust as I grew. Stifled and frustrated, lately I’d wanted to venture farther, risking capture if only for a glimpse of an Erdlander. Mother said they had hair on their heads like me, and some even had it on their faces. They walked like us and spoke words as we did, although in a different language. Mother taught me a handful of words she’d learned during her imprisonment. The sounds fell easily from my lips and the more I heard, the more I understood.

Erdlanders didn’t have gills and didn’t absorb oxygen through their skin, using their mouths to breathe. I wasn’t like them and I wasn’t like my mother’s people. I was not supposed to exist—an anomaly, an accident of science—but my mother’s escape from her prison before my birth meant I existed on the shore, alone but for Mother.

~Serafay!~ My mother spoke in the musical Sualwet language as she emerged from the water in time to see me walk out from the tree line. Her frown gave away her displeasure. She’d returned from scavenging with treasures to show me.

~Mother!~ I waved, then reached back and pulled my long chestnut hair into a knot.

~Always playing with that hair.~

~Just because you don’t have any doesn’t mean you should be so jealous,~ I teased, and splashed into the water to help carry the bags she dragged behind her.

~These were a lot lighter underwater.~

~Give me one.~ I held out my hand to take some of her burden.

~No, you’ll cheat and look.~ Her mock scowl was playful as she pretended to hold the bags from me in a protective embrace.

~Fine then, carry them yourself!~ I dove under the surface and kicked off, letting the thin webbing between my toes capture the water and propel me forward.

I loved being underwater. The weightlessness of it surrounded and held me. The shallow cove was wide, and I could swim out quite far before the ocean floor dropped off to the open sea. The call of the expanse was hard to deny, but I couldn’t go out today. It made my mother worry, like everything else, and I was anxious to see what she’d brought home.

I could stay underwater for hours, thanks to the Sualwet part of my anatomy, and I longed to lose myself in the sea. Eventually, I needed to resurface and use my lungs, but the time I stole in the darkness of submersion soothed my dry skin and my lonely heart. As I broke the surface, a thin membrane, a gift from my mother’s genetics, closed over my eyes to protect them from the sun’s intense light. I paddled back to the shore in time to help her heave the bags up to the rock-and-cloth enclosure we called home.

The fire in our makeshift hearth had died, so I used the fire stone we’d salvaged in another treasure hunt to light a spark. I tried to be patient while Mother pulled a loose shirt over her head, the thin cloth hanging down to her knees. We found or made most of our clothing, in keeping with the loose-fitting Erdlander style. Underwater people wore very little, and what they did wear clung to their bodies. It looked so uncomfortable, but Mother said it helped her swim faster. I always swam naked because fabric impeded my movement.

The home we’d built on the cove was comfortable. We had sufficient supplies, and hammocks hanging between the sparse trees to sleep in. Recently, I separated the space into rooms, using the taut, weighted cloth the Sualwet used as walls underwater, which Mother had scavenged from an abandoned home. Farther back, a small cave in the rocky incline offered us shelter when we needed it, but we both preferred to stay outside.

A smile brightened her face as she approached where I sat next to the fire. ~There was another attack.~ She eased onto one of the woven chairs we’d made and began pulling things out of the bag. ~The war seems to have gotten worse. There were a lot of bodies. It must have just happened, and the sharks kept the other Sualwets away.~

~Sharks!~ I leaned toward her, terrified and excited by her adventure.

~Yes! Big ones, too. The water was red with gore.~

~You shouldn’t have gone near them!~ My smile betrayed my scolding tone. I longed for anything half as exciting as what my mother described.

~They weren’t interested in me, too busy gorging themselves on Erdlander blubber!~ She laughed again.

In her eyes, the misfortune of others paled to the misery of her life. She couldn’t muster much sympathy for them. Some might call her cruel, but under her hardened exterior existed a gentle heart.

~Besides, if those beasts hadn’t died, this would’ve never been there for me to find.~ Out of the sack she pulled what appeared to be a butterfly made entirely out of stars.

I reached forward, wanting to touch the sparkling thing to make sure it was real.

~It’s a hair piece. They use it to decorate themselves.~

I took the object in my hand and noticed how its sturdy weight made it almost trustworthy. On the other side a simple metal mechanism opened and shut on a lever, not much different from the animal traps I made.

~It’s amazing.~ My voice was just a whisper. I turned the gift over and over again before running my fingers along the sparkling decoration.

~Let’s put it in.~ Mother didn’t usually like to touch my hair; she said it irritated her skin. Tonight, she jumped up and walked to the baskets that held my personal things, and grabbed my small comb.

~When you were born, there was no hair on you anywhere, just as it should be,~ she began with a chuckle, pulling the comb through my long locks. ~But you were pink. Nothing like the other hatchlings I’d seen.~

Evening settled around us and the sun peeked from behind the ragged mountaintop in the distance as she told my favorite story.

~But then, you weren’t a hatchling were you?~

~No.~ I smiled, relaxing into her memory.

She laid the comb down and ran her fingers through my hair. It was an unusual moment of intimacy.


~You scared everyone else, but I knew.... I could see in your silver eyes that you were something worth protecting.~ She pulled my hair back from my temples and fumbled with the strange hair piece for a moment before it clasped with a click. ~Beautiful.~

~Thank you.~ I turned around and saw the wistful expression, the one I’d grown up with, on her face.

We had moments of happiness here in our little oasis, but a shroud of sorrow covered everything she did. Being away from her people caused her pain and I hated being the reason for it.

~What else did you find?~ I said.

Dismissing her musings with a shake of the head, my mother reached into her bag. One after the next, she pulled out treasures and necessities. She had recovered paper for me to dry in the sun, jars full of sea water—one with a crab!—cooking utensils, ropes, clothes, and even music on melodisks.

I sorted her loot into piles of things needing to be dried, repaired, or cleaned, while she inserted one of the new melodisks. The tonifier was old, but its power cells still worked.

Music rose from the box, low and vibrating, thrumming against me with its slow beat.

Mother stepped back from the sound as if it somehow offended her, but didn’t reach for the eject key.

It sounded like nothing I’d heard before, with a rhythm that did not welcome dancing or singing. I could make out no words, and when voices finally joined the cacophony, the impulse to move with the music overwhelmed us.

I took her hand and pulled my mother out of the small enclosure under the evening sky. The two moons above us shone in the dim light, one a little larger and farther away than the other. They gazed down on us as our bodies took in the visceral intonations.

Something flickered at the corner of my vision, as if the fire had somehow followed us and sparked in the night air, but when I turned to look, it was gone.


I worked all morning, laying each piece of paper on the rocks along the shoreline, securing them with small stones so nothing would be lost to the trickster wind. Mother found entire books for me written in Erdlander, and while she couldn’t read them, they made sense to me; the words were familiar, like a sibling reunited. I spent hours studying the other books she’d brought home, running my finger over each word, understanding its meaning through touch. Mother even found a melodisk of a book being read, which ignited the language in my mind. She suspected their language was somehow in my blood, just like my need for air.

Laying out the paper was slow, but by the time the sun rose to its full height, nearly a hundred pages sprawled around me. Pleased with my work, I sat down to lie in the sand and enjoy the heat.

Mother retreated to the water. This time of year, the sun was so close it felt as if its rays reached out and brushed my skin. The heat relaxed me, lulling me into a sleepy respite, but my mother’s sensitive skin dried out far too fast. So I lay alone on the beach, as she slept beneath the water just beyond the coral reef separating our cove from the open sea.

I closed my eyes, letting the heat seep into my skin. My mind drifted to the forest where animals hunted and scavengers picked at whatever scraps remained. Life wasn’t supposed to be lived like mine, alone. The situation would probably not change, though, as the few Sualwets I’d met were afraid of me, and—thanks to my mother’s stories—Erdlanders terrified me.

As a child I hadn’t minded the solitude, enjoying my mother’s attention and playing with the animals in and out of the water. But at fifteen years old, almost sixteen, something inside me longed for more. I didn’t have a name for it, but it tugged at me.

The sun floated across the cloudless sky as I half-dozed. Our cove might have been the safest place on the planet, solitary and undiscovered by Sualwets and Erdlanders alike. Images of floating boats and swimming clouds filled my mind until a sound jolted me from my thoughts.

A hoooooffff and then swoosh rose and the air moved as if something had run past me. I looked down the beach just as a dark spot shrank and then disappeared.

Hey! I jumped to my feet and ran toward the movement.

If it was an animal, it had already gone. Few ventured here. They were skittish around my mother and me. Perhaps it was used to groups, an Erdlander pet that had lost its way.

I raced after it, sand flying behind me as my webbed feet scooped it up, and sprinted along the beach until I reached the beginning of the forest. The trees were thin near the sand but thickened farther back, stretching out beyond my reach, colliding with a cliff wall that led to the mountains.

I skidded to a halt in the sand and then crashed down to my hands and knees. Something was climbing the cliff!

Hey! I cried, more afraid for the creature’s safety than I was for my own. No animal I’d ever seen could climb such a sheer wall.

I watched, transfixed, as it moved all four limbs in combination like a spider. The animal scaled the wall until it reached a flat surface out over the water. Though hard to see with the noonday sun glaring down in my eyes, I could tell the thing was not covered in hair like the wild dogs of the forest. It had dark tan skin, like a boar, or... an Erdlander? My mother’s voice swirled in my mind: They have skin as dark as the bark of a tree, and hair on their heads, thick like rope. Their eyes can be black or green. Once I even saw one with eyes blue, like the bay, but don’t let that fool you—they don’t possess the wisdom of the sea, only the cruelty of the sun.

The creature hunched on the plateau and reached into a bag slung over its shoulder. A handful of the now-dry paper I’d laid out on the beach emerged in its clutches.

Give those back! I screamed in the Erdlander tongue. Paper was precious when you lived alone. Besides, it was mine.

At the sound of my voice, the creature turned and scanned the beach. Hair covered its features, but I spied a pair of bright blue eyes.

Go! It spoke Erdlander with a tone low and gruff, like those of the men on the melodisks.

The voice scratched against my ears and the cadence of the word was wrong, but somehow, I understood.

No! Give those back! I took a step in the direction of the talking beast.

Mine! He stood up, towering over me.

The plateau easily sat fifty feet up, so it was difficult to gauge height, but whatever he turned out to be, he was tall. I shrank back, having never seen an Erdlander or a man. My courage evaporated.

Mine, he repeated, then shoved the pages back in the bag and scampered higher.

I watched his retreating form until it was just a spot in the distance.


From then on, I walked everyday to the end of the beach and stared up the cliff side. I wanted to see him again... or maybe I wanted to reassure myself he wasn’t coming back. For weeks, whenever my mother retreated from the midday sun to sleep beneath the water’s surface, I repeated my walk.

He became more idea than man. I was sure he was male; his body hadn’t curved like mine and my mother’s but had been straight and hard, like pictures I’d seen in books. Hunters and princes were men. Which had I found?

I didn’t mention the stranger to my mother, or his theft. When she asked about the missing papers, I blamed their disappearance on the wildness of the wind. She frowned at me, judging my loss, but said nothing.

The longer he stayed away, the more I imagined about him. The memory of his face blurred as the days passed, but the feeling in my stomach when I thought of his voice grew stronger. Questions mounted in my mind. Why was he here? Why was he alone? Why did he run? Perhaps Erdlanders were not as cruel as my mother had told me.

I imagined his voice, low and hard, speaking to me over the fire. At night I would lose myself inside dreams of touching his tan skin.

Mother never said a word. If she noticed my distraction, she didn’t ask and didn’t interrupt. Likely she was just glad I was acting more like a Sualwet, detached.

I busied myself with the mundane tasks of life on the beach. Mother fished and hunted what she could while I separated the salt from the sea water, giving us drinking water and salt to preserve what little meat we had.

The small garden I’d built flourished. Behind the cove, only a few paces into the woods, was a clearing with rich soil. I planted seeds Mother salvaged or from any food we found, which we’d cultivated year after year until we had a rich variety of fruits and vegetables. When rainwater wasn’t enough, I used our drinking water to care for the plants. Mother didn’t really need the water to be separated from the salt, but she enjoyed the taste.

Days passed and the moons overhead traversed the sky, calling to me. The smaller moon moved briskly. Sometimes its cycle would adjust and it appeared during the day. Eclipses were rare, the moon too small to block out the fire of the sun, but it passed like an inkblot across the sky.

The larger moon fascinated me the most, with its deep red surface. In the fading sunlight, sometimes its reflection would fill the whole sky with color. I loved those nights and would always ask Mother if I could sleep on the beach. She never joined me, preferring to spend those nights underwater, out of the sight of the moon’s ruby eye.

Mother said the second moon was so far away because the night gods had banished her from the land, and that she was large because her heart had swollen with loneliness and regret. When I asked for more about these stories, she scoffed and refused to elaborate. Gods are of no use to you and me, Serafay. They are only for those with something to pray for.

The sun had dropped low by the time I finished tending the garden and checking the crab traps. I made my trek to the cliff wall, pacing my steps and keeping my advance steady. Despite my moderate approach, my heart swelled, making it hard to breathe.

He was there! The mystery of his existence was no longer of importance. All I could think about was his nearness.

I drew closer. The pressure in my chest built until I was sure my heart would become a hummingbird and fly away. Excitement tingled in my fingers, in my liquid legs, in my breath.

When I was near enough to hear him, I stopped and stared up, waiting for him to move or speak. I stood as if a devotee at the foot of a god. The longer I stood, the less I could distinguish about him.

He was simply too far away. His hair hung down again, disguising his features from view.

Hello? I ventured, speaking in Erdlander.

Huh? You. He stretched out a finger and aimed it at me, questioning.

I nodded and smiled up at him. My stomach threatened to heave and my hands shook at my sides as he studied me. The sound of my loud breathing echoed in my ears as the touch of his gaze on my skin excited me. Every inch of me was on display, but not the way Mother had warned would happen should I ever be found by Erdlanders. I didn’t feel like a specimen.

You, he repeated, his voice softer.

If you come down here, you can point at me easier, I teased. My gut flipped at the thought.

His head tilted to the side, bringing more of his dark tangled hair over his face and hiding the blue eyes I saw every night when I drifted to sleep. Even holding impossibly still, I sensed the tingle of his gaze against my skin.

I promise not to bite. My mouth spoke without my consent, and I shivered at my boldness.

Bye, the man stated in a gruff, abrupt tone. He turned and grabbed hold of the wall, and climbed along the ridge until he disappeared into the forest.

Wait! I didn’t mean— I shouted after him, running behind his retreating form. I’m sorry, I mumbled, sliding to a stop.

Why would he leave? Standing on the beach, I stared up at the ledge he had spoken from. My disappointment seeped out of me into the sand. I stood there, dissolving, having finally met someone who wasn’t my mother or the few disapproving Sualwets who still kept in contact with her. I’d lost my chance before even seeing his face.

No bye, his voice was close, soft.

I turned and found him before me, tall and intimidating. Right. No bite.

Huh, he grunted and squatted. He stayed beneath the canopy of trees, not venturing out into the brightness of the beach. Legs crossed and body still, he watched me.

The sensation of being seen was remarkable. A light glowed within me, heating parts of myself I hadn’t known were cold.

Hello. I approached in slow, even steps and sat in the sand at the edge of the forest.

We faced each other in silence, me in the sand, the bright sun warming my back as his eyes warmed my soul. He was difficult to see, as his thick black hair hanging in front of his face twisted haphazardly. Dark shadows fell around him, hiding him from the sun. Heat beat on my shoulders.


What? I asked, startled by the sound of his voice.

He shook his head and pulled the hair hanging in front of his face to one side. Peering at me were the most vibrant blue eyes, the color of sapphires or the ocean beyond the cove. His nose was straight and broad, his face narrow. A scar cut through one eyebrow and dirt smeared his features.

How could creatures so beautiful and so terrifying exist? I longed to touch him, to pull his hair away and reveal the rest of his face, but the shaking of my hands stopped me.

Torkek, he stated again, with a quirk of his lips. They were wide and full.

Why do I want to touch them?

I... Tor.

That’s your name? I asked.

A mouthful of teeth greeted me.

Okay, hi, Tor. I raised a hand, smiled, and placed the palm of my hand on my chest. I’m Serafay.


Yes, Serafay.

Tor. He grinned again and nodded.

Why are you here? Where do you live? I spat one question after the next, not giving him time to answer or process what I was saying. The world opened before me as I spoke to someone I only knew as Tor. The possibilities of what he represented were mind numbing.

Tor, huh Sera.


His forehead wrinkled and his jaw line hardened as he chewed on thoughts he couldn’t verbalize. He pulled at his hair as he struggled to find the words.

Stop that. I shot up and approached him, pulling his hands away from his hair.

Such contact was unusual for me, but instinct dictated I stop him. Despite the many scars along his arms, his skin was soft. I sat in front of him, still gripping his hands. He turned away, and his dark flesh turned a reddish hue I’d never seen before. Was he like the chameleons, adjusting color as his surroundings changed?

A huff came from him as he looked down in his lap.

I sat so close, our knees touched and my hands held his in a tight grip. If I released him, he might disappear into the shadows. I’d just ventured into the darkness of the forest, leaving the hot sand behind me. The small distance was profound.

Our hands were so different, mine small and pale, almost translucent when not in the sun. Blue veins ran beneath my skin and small sun spots speckled my arms. His hands were large and calloused, the nails short and worn, and ragged, sharp cuts littered his knuckles.

Sera, he whispered without raising his head.

You can’t talk much, can you?

Huh, he grunted, his shoulders sinking down as his head lowered in embarrassment.

It’s okay. I talk a lot. Even if you don’t understand, that’s all right. I reached out, close enough to brush his hair away from one side of his face. Coarse and thick, it was knotted in ropes. I pulled my hands back, placing them in my lap, afraid to touch him.

His eyes remained locked on his hands.


He looked up at the sound of his name.

Where do you live?

He squinted at me.

I pointed down the beach. I live down there, with my mother. Where do you live?


You live somewhere nearby, up the cliff? I pointed to the ridge where he’d stood only moments earlier.

Huh, up.

I never saw you before you stole my papers. I was really looking forward to putting them together and seeing if they were from the same book. It’s been a while since I had a new story to read.


Nope, those are my pages. My mother found them fair and square.

He shrugged his shoulders at my declaration of ownership but made no attempt to give the pages back. You go. He stood, and his hair fell back over his face, hiding him behind the veil of black.

I remained frozen on the ground and watched as he slung his small bag over his shoulder.

Without another word, he disappeared into the forest.


The next morning, I woke before my mother and began the fire. The days were getting hotter and the idea of cooking appalled me, but I couldn’t eat anymore of my mother’s preferred breakfast of fish eggs, cold from being buried deep in the ground of our small cave. The warmth of the slow-rising morning sun battled with the heat of the fire as I boiled potatoes and other vegetables I’d harvested earlier in the week. Alongside some of the meat I had dried, it would make a fine meal.

I threw in extra, thinking I would take it down to the cliff wall later.

I didn’t understand Tor—why he didn’t speak, why he kept running off. It infuriated me but made my curiosity about him flare. He was dirty and unkempt. Did that mean he lived alone? Did all Erdlanders take such terrible care of themselves?

My mother would know, but asking her would just pique her curiosity and make her watch me closer. She was content to leave me alone during the day because I’d stopped venturing out of the cove.

The forest held little allure for me since I’d met Tor. What did a footprint or a new fruit matter to me now?

~Serafay,~ Mother grumbled as she unfolded from her hammock. Sleeping on land left her stiff and ornery. I’d told her to sleep under the surface, but she refused. ~I leave you alone too much as it is,~ she would say whenever I brought it up.

~Morning.~ I smiled

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